You don’t hear much from (or about) State Rep. Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin). He’s always kept a low profile, opting for his staffers to handle most of his communications so he can avoid speaking in public.
Now, as Gov. Mike DeWine prepares to announce his plans Monday for re-opening Ohio amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, Reineke and a group of other GOP Ohio House members have released their own — marking the first action Reineke has publicly taken, albeit quietly, since the start of the health crisis.
The plan is called the “Open Ohio Responsibly Framework,” and 28 Republicans in state government, including Reineke, have signed on in support.
“We believe a responsible opening of all businesses can, and should, begin on or before May 1st,” the memo reads in part. “NOW is the time to responsibly open all businesses.”
“We respect past concerns regarding not overwhelming our hospitals, health systems, front line health-care workers and first responders as well as ensuring there is an adequate supply of personal protective equipment,” the memo states. “In Ohio, we believe we are now past that stage of concern.”
Reineke, the wealthy car dealership tycoon who inherited his family’s business, is reportedly itching to get his dealerships fully open and selling cars again.
The plan differs from that of Gov. DeWine, who is expected to announce a tiered approach on Monday, including a selective reopening of certain businesses over a period of time. Barber shops, nail salons, bars and restaurants aren’t expected to be in the first phase.
Ohio House Democrats are also urging caution, asking DeWine to hold off on reopening Ohio until the state is able to conduct widespread testing, require mask wearing in public, create guidelines for businesses, and get childcare facilities up-and-running safely. They will release their own thoughts on how to re-open Ohio safely at 12:30 p.m. Monday.
“We oppose any plan that disproportionately prioritizes the economy over people’s lives,” they wrote. “Reopening the state too soon could negate the sacrifices of those who have missed going to school, lost their livelihoods, and put their lives on hold for the greater good.”
Attempts to reach Reineke for comment were unsuccessful.